James Lynn Cowles, 79, of Yankton passed peacefully on Saturday, October 10th 2020, surrounded by his family.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 pm followed by a wake service at Goglin Funeral Home on Monday, October 12. The funeral will be held at Sacred Heart Church on Tuesday, October 13 at 10:30 am. His son Rev. Kristopher Cowles will celebrate the mass.
Facial coverings will be required and social distancing practices will be maintained. Virtual viewing will be provided through the Goglin Funeral Home website. Burial services will be at a later date.
James was born on June 3, 1941 in Vermillion, SD to David and Helen (Jones) Cowles. He graduated from Vermillion High School and attended the University of South Dakota briefly before enlisting in the United States Army in 1960, completing basic training at Ft. Sill. He served as a member of the Army Intelligence until 1962, being stationed in Germany and Turkey.
He married Leona Mary Dunn on May 3, 1969 at Sacred Heart Church in Yankton. They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this past spring. Following their wedding, they built a home together in Vermillion.
He began working for the US Postal Service in 1968 as a letter carrier in Vermillion. He rose up through the ranks, becoming Assistant Postmaster. In 1977, he became Postmaster in Miller. In 1981, he became Postmaster in Yankton. He remained there until 1998 when he was given the Postmaster position in Minot, ND. He retired with 33 years of service in 2000.
He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He served as Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 133 and participated on many scout trips with his sons, including Philmont Scout Ranch, Bighorn Mountains, and Canadian Boundary Waters. He was a former member of the Knights of Columbus and Kiwanis. Up until his death, he remained an avid member of the Yankton Sharpshooters, enjoyed fishing on the river in his boat, and was a lifelong carpenter.
He is survived by his beloved wife Leona of Yankton; daughter Kelly and her husband Steve and daughter Elizabeth of Aberdeen, Scotland; son Kirby and his wife Angie and children Creighton and Burkelyn of Sioux Falls, son Michael and his wife Kelley and sons Riley, Nolan and Eli of Sioux Falls, son Owen and his wife Wendy and children Logan (with fiance Riley of Newport Beach, CA), Savannah (with husband Dustin and great grandson Dustin Joseph Jr.), Makenah and Mykah of Gayville, and son Kristopher of Sioux Falls; sister Joyce Jaeger (Carson City, NV).
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Janet Dutra, and his brother David Cowles.
Pallbearers are his grandsons and great-grandson. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to Sacred Heart School in Yankton, SD, where all five of his children attended school.
10/17/2020 Melinda Kolb Carson City, NV
I really loved my Uncle Jim so much. He always treated me with kindness and gave me lots of love and attention when we visited. I will always remember his great laugh and sense of humor. He also was totally responsible for my life long Star Trek obsession he told me it was great and for me that made it so! We used to watch it together on Friday nights one summer that I stayed in Vermillion and we would talk about all the important stuff around it. I always looked up to him as a great example of a community and family leader. I will miss him dearly.
My love and sympathy to you Aunt Leona and all my cousins who I never see, you are so important to who I am today and I wish you comfort now.
10/15/2020 Russ and Linda Keizer Rock Island, IL
Leona, you and your family are in our prayers. We have such great memories of the times we spent with the Yankton crew when we came to visit! Jim’s smile and warm personality will surely be missed. Jim is the only one who could get me to shoot a gun! God now has another special angel!
10/14/2020 Marvin Thum and Agnes Thum Scotland, SD
We extend our deepest sympathy to the Cowles family. As a fellow Postmaster, Marvin had many visits with Jim concerning the postal service they both served. Jim was a great source of knowledge and would share it with his fellow postmasters.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
10/13/2020 Dick & Ruby Nelson Overland Park, KS
Our most sincere condolences to Leona and family. Jim and I were close friends throughout high school and well beyond. He was in our wedding party in 1964 and I was in theirs when he and Leona were married. Thoughts and prayers go out to all the family. I will ave many found memories of our friendship.
10/13/2020 Andrea Dutra San Jose, CA
I'm so sorry about Jim. Wishing I could be with you. Sending all my love and support.
10/13/2020 Tim Sorensen Vermillion, South Dakota
One of my memories of Uncle Jim was when he would come to my parents place to cut wood for his wood fireplace. When we would go to his house for the holidays, that fireplace felt great after playing football with all the cousins in the snow. You will be missed but not forgotten.
10/13/2020 Daisy Johnston Sioux Falls, SD
Jim was such an amazing man and I am so incredible sorry for your loss. I love you guys and so sorry we can’t be there. Please, know we are in our hearts. As the days, weeks, months and years close in, Know he will always comfort you with his memories and angel wings. Love you! -Daisy & family
10/12/2020 Millie Samsel Higgins St. Paul, MN
Leona and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I remember Jim as a kind soul. May your memories and the Goodness of God sustain you now and always.
10/12/2020 Kim Schoenfelder Aurora, Colorado
Godspeed Uncle Jim. I remember you jumping up from grandma's table and running out the door because you were a volunteer fireman. I remember you dropping by for a quick visit when we were in Germany. You were a great father, husband, grandfather, brother, son and uncle. You will be missed.